dalekboy (dalekboy) wrote,

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Babylon 5 season 1.2

And the second half of my mini-reviews of Season One of Babylon 5. At the end is a bunch of mistakes and issues I had with some episodes.

1.12 By Any Means Necessary by Kathryn M. Drennan
I like this story. It deals with a realistic issue fairly intelligently. I also like the B story with G'Kar, as we get to see how important his faith is to him.


1.13 Signs and Portents by J. Michael Straczynski
The story that kicks off the series' arc in a big way. Morden appears asking "What do you want?", Londo and Kiro wondering at how the Centuri could have lost so much, and the first fleeting appearance of the Shadows. I still remember my first "What the hell was that?!" reaction on my original viewing, and that moment when something appears in space still works today. Even on a first viewing, there's no doubt that this is a major turning point in the Babylon 5 universe.


1.14 TKO by Larry DiTillio
Nowhere near as bad as I remembered, just... unengaging. I suppose it suffers after the events in the previous story. It's also the first story I've struck that I wanted to do a serious rewrite to it. It just felt, to me, like there was a lot of little things I wanted to nudge into a better or more interesting form. And as for the fabled Mutai, the knockdown, drag-out fight... I've been in nastier punch-ups. If you're going to make out that this is little short of a death-match, make it look dangerous and exciting.


1.15 Grail by Christy Marx
This is one of my favourite stories. It's a lovely little stand-alone, a sweet idea for a story, and all of it is elevated by a beautiful performance by David Warner as Aldus, and a sweet (though occasionally variable) performance by Tom Booker as Jinxo. And I've always liked the Na'ka'leen feeder, nice concept, and beautiful CGI execution.


1.16 Eyes by Larry DiTillio
An interesting one. Eyes was a last minute replacement for a script that fell through, but you wouldn't think so to watch it. As the investigation of Sinclair goes ahead, the story does a great job of pulling together threads from the earlier episodes and laying the groundwork for things still to come. The actor playing Ben Zayn does a good job early on, but sadly becomes pretty much a standard villain by the end.


1.17 Legacies by D.C. Fontana
This was the only story pitched to the B5 offices, rather than being assigned with a brief by Straczynski. This tale of the honouring of a Minbari General, and the choices open to a developing telepath, is well constructed with some nice hints towards the future of the series, and I always like any script where the A&B stories interact on more than a surface level.


1.18 & 19 Signs and Portents by J. Michael Straczynski
I've popped these two together as they were written to be watched by overseas audiences as a TV movie. Epsilon 3, the planet that Babylon 5 orbits, shows that it's not as dead as originally thought. That combined with riots on Mars, makes for a reasonably full story. It sets up a few threads that will be followed up on later in the series.


1.20 Babylon Squared by J. Michael Straczynski
Babylon 4 appears. Nuff said. An interesting idea, again setting up threads for the future. An enjoyable and intriguing watch.


1.21 The Quality of Mercy by J. Michael Straczynski
More threads as Dr. Franklin investigates an unlicensed medical practitioner in Down Below. Not a bad story, though I find the character of Franklin a little wearing at times.


1.22 Crysalis by J. Michael Straczynski
A big season pay-off and the set-up for the next year. Death, betrayal, Shadow ships, and a number of changes. A great finale for the season, with a number of good moments within.


Below are mistakes and plot/character issues I noticed while watching first season. I'm not saying they are important or that these are the only ones - these are just ones I happened to pick up on. They will contain major spoilers, so you've been warned...

Faults and flaws

1.02 Soul Hunter
How the heck did the Soul Hunter get all that gear through customs? There's rather a lot of it.
Also, why does Sinclair turn the Soul Drawing device on the hunter? He's no reason to, he could have just turned it so that it wasn't aiming at Delenn, given that the hunter wasn't a threat and was being stopped by the soul spheres. Obviously, Sinclair's a bit of a prick.

1.07 The War Prayer
When Sinclair and Ivanova betray them, why don't the people in the super-invisible camo-gear simply become invisible to avoid being such easy targets. Also, when the bad-guys have been beaten and Sinclair has their leader held at gun point, Garabaldi's men walk between Sinclair and the baddie. They must be petty poorly trained security guards.

1.08 And the Sky Full of Stars
Knight One and Knight Two go to a great deal of trouble to cover their tracks, to remain anonymous and low key. So naturally they would choose to wear Identical uniforms! This doesn't make it obvious at all that they are together. Nope, not at all.

1.10 Believers
Shon describes the Gloppit Egg with the exact same words as another character - "industrial goo." This just strikes me as clumsy or lazy writing, there's no reason for Shon to use the same wording, especially as he obviously believes that Franklin thinks that it really is an egg.

Also, Ivanova's behaviour is totally unprofessional. Instead of simply requesting that she be allowed to lead the flight to the damaged ship, she carries on about walking to and fro and going stir crazy in front of the command staff.

1.11 Survivors
We're told that the blast in the Cobra bays would have destroyed them all and half the station. But when Garabaldi and Kemmer reach the entrance to the bays, Cutter, who is in on the plot, is standing there. He obviously doesn't know that they're coming to check, so what the hell is he doing standing so close to an area he knows is going to sustain damage in an explosion?

It's a good thing Garabaldi doesn't fall off the wagon very often, because Jerry Doyle's drunk acting needs a hell of a lot of work.

Also, Garabaldi contacts C&C and yells at them to abort the launch. In theory they still trust him but they take time to question what he's saying and take forever to act on it. It's all done for dramatic effect, of course, as is the countdown. We've never seen any sort of countdown to a fighter launch before this, nor after, if memory serves.

1.12 By Any Means Necessary
Eduardo Delviontos seems to get over the death of his brother, and last remaining member of his family, pretty quickly. There's no sign of any distress or grief, apart from right at the start when he's with his brother's body. Given that everyone else is talking about the death, wouldn't he bring it up at least once, or at least remember to act a bit upset? Maybe he hated his brother.

1.14 TKO
The Mutai seems a little... bloody ordinary. As an ultimate fighting championship, it may have been better to employ professional stunt guys or wrestlers for the roles and to tell them to just go nuts. WWE this was not. Walker warns Garabaldi more than once to watch his back, which is a nice bit of foreshadowing. Just a shame it's all in the one episode. Would have been nice to have had one or two other eps where this is obviously a weak point for the security chief, where he gets king-hit or saved by people when he fails to do this.

1.15 Grail
Lennier claims that there are two castes of Minbari, Religious and Warrior. Delenn doesn't correct him and say there's three. Bit silly for all involved.

1.17 Legacies
I have one big issue with the story. Naroon insists that only Minbari may guard the body of Branmer. But when the body is stolen and he gets all upset, not one of the Earth crew make the entirely reasonable point that before he gets huffy and starts making threats, it was his own people who let the body get stolen! Given the way he's throwing accusations about, you would think someone would argue the point.

Season 2 reviewed whenever Sharon and I get around to watching it!
Tags: b5, reviews, videos/dvds

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